Happy birthday from the bees to me

Farming is a weather dependent industry, so my work for the day is often determined by the absence or presence of rain.

This week, I had scheduled a bee day, including a queen-rearing workshop, but with the rain, I just ran errands and drove back home.

rain rain go away

This is from the second of three rounds of rain.

When I got home and opened the door, I found two boxes full of unassembled beekeeping equipment, so what great timing! I needed to place supers once the weather turned dry, and put my time into putting it all together.

super assembly (7) blog

I thought I had plenty of equipment for three hives when I started the season, but with a split and two colonies from fallen tree limbs, my resources were depleted. Five supers and fifty frames was the order.

When the skies dried up the next day, I checked on my observation hive. Without an outer cover, I like to check it for water after rainfalls and dry the glass if needed.

I found mushrooms and a droopy daylilly on the way there. I guess mushrooms happens with rain.

mushrooms 6 26 14 small

Such an adventurous long walk from my back door to the hive. Not.

After I dried off the glass, I inspected the frames and found a new queen! She was running everywhere. Very quickly. She must have been very new — she appeared to have no attendants.

obs nuc 6 27 14 (5) queen

Out of 13 tries, this is the best photo I got. She kept diving under cover.

One week ago, the observation hive had many queen cells in various stages.

obs 6 20 14 cropped queen cells 1

This day, I had many empty queen cells.

queen cells 6 27 14 obs hive (5)

One cell had a dead queen inside. The rest of the cells were empty.

Afterward, I placed supers on the appropriate hives then visited my newest hive. This hive was populated from a swarm that had taken up residence a tree branch. Last week’s big storm knocked it down and I got to save its bees. Since there was so little comb in the branch, I think it may have been just a week old. I gave it a frame of brood from a nearby hive that needed some decongestion, waited a week, and — I found the queen!

letty queen 6 27 14 (7) blog

I had hoped I got the queen when the tree limb fell, but you never know. I think the frame of brood gave this colony a jump start.

Opening bee hives and seeing progress makes me feel like I just got a birthday gift.

The Iola was also looking good. A frame of comb has now been filled with nectar:

frame of honey bees

The frame as of 6/12/14 on the left, 6/27/14 on the right

I’m hoping for a new week of good weather!

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